Opinion

Counteraction to Bolsonaro embedded with political risks

With President Bolsonaro's firm anti-democratic messaging during the September 7 protests, it is imperative for the opposition to find solutions to stymie Brazil's autocratic slide

bolsonaro With President Bolsonaro's firm anti-democratic messaging during the September 7 protests, it is imperative for the opposition to find solutions to stymie Brazil's autocratic slide.
Banner in anti-Bolsonaro counterprotest in Porto Alegre. Photo: Maí Yandara/FP

In the aftermath of the anti-democratic protests called by President Jair Bolsonaro yesterday, one question looms over Brazil’s political system: what can the opposition do to counteract Mr. Bolsonaro’s authoritarian aspirations? 

While we did not see the physical confrontations or the storming of public buildings that many pundits predicted, the message of the protests was undoubtedly violent. Speaking on his soapbox in Brasília, and in São Paulo in the afternoon, President Bolsonaro threatened “scumbag” Supreme Court justices, inferring that they would have to bend to his will, or face removal.

Recently, political scientists have examined why some democracies...

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